Kristian Singh, Sean Tucker and Cameron Jeffers *Photos supplied
Kristian Singh, Sean Tucker and Cameron Jeffers *Photos supplied

A group of young cricketers will be rewarded for their exhaustive fundraising efforts when they embark on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of South Africa next month.

A total of 14 players — including two girls — from the Bermuda Cricket Board Under-13 programme will fly to the South Cape region on February 6 to play local schools and immerse themselves in the culture and history of the country.

The squad, led by Under-13 coach Lorenzo Tucker, will enjoy a training session at the famous Sahara Park Newlands cricket ground with Cape Cobras coach Salieg Nackerdien, visit Robben Island and Table Mountain, and enjoy a trip to a game reserve.

The group are also set to watch a Cobras game at the iconic stadium.

Tucker, whose son Sean is also in the squad, told the Bermuda Sun: “It’ll be like going to Sabina Park or one of the big Test ground, it’s historic and somewhere you watch on TV. 

“They’ll be able to tell people for years to come they went there – it’s a trip of a lifetime.”

Tucker added that the emphasis of the tour, which has been nearly two years in the planning, is on development and opening the youngsters’ eyes to a different way of life, including the impact of late former leader Nelson Mandela.

The brainchild of former national team coach Dave Moore, the tour is a follow-on from the 2012 tour of the UK.

“Going to Robben Island was a no-brainer but it’s a chance to see how other people live and interact,” said Tucker.

“Because this is a developmental tour everybody will play four-six games and we’ll rotate players so everyone gets a bowl, for example.

“The cricket side of it, it’s not about getting a winning record. Everyone will play.

“It’s going to be really hot down there and the pitches are going to be hard and true. They are 13 years old so they are going to play around 30 overs. It’s going to be hard for them to keep their concentration — that’s going to be challenging for them. 

“But I think that’s something they will get better at as the tour goes on.

“We’ve got 14 players going and a lot of them have no international experience, they have played domestically but not internationally, apart from the four or five players that went on the last tour.

“For the others they are going to be shellshocked into rising to the occasion. That can go one of two ways.” He added: “I am looking forward to Newlands, I’ve just done my Australia Level 3 coaching so I’m interested to see how the South Africans do things. It’s going to be fantastic for me from a coaching point of view.” 

Fifteen parents will join BCB officials and players on the trip. 

Packing a punch

Budding leg-spinner Cameron Jeffers proved such an adept salesman he sold $3,000 worth of punch cards as part of his South Africa tour fundraising efforts.

Each player was required to raise a minimum of $4,000 to cover costs and it seems Jeffers’ desire to get on the plane uncovered some impressive sales skills.

Coach Lorenzo Tucker told the Sun: “He’s very dedicated. He took the burden off his family, for sure. He went to the UK tour before and is just a cricket fanatic. He loves the sport and is definitely one you’re going to hear about for years to come.

“He’s a leg-break bowler, who are few and far between on the island and he’s just really passionate about his cricket.”